Colorado Class battleships

Colorado Class battleships


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Colorado Class battleships

The Colorado class battleships were the last class of 'old' battleships completed for the US Navy, and were a repeat of the previous Tennessee class but with twin 16in gun turrets replacing the triple 14in turrets of the older ships. Four ships were built, but only three completed, the fourth being scrapped under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and sunk as a target in 1924.

The Colorado class ships were built with the same five layer anti-torpedo defence system as the Tennessee class. They were the first class of American dreadnoughts to be planned without hull mounted secondary armament, and were thus built from the start with deck mounted secondary guns (the previous two classes had been planned with hull guns but completed without them). They had oil fired boilers and turbo-electric engines, twin funnels, twin control tops on their heavy cage masts and a large forward superstructure.

The USS Maryland, first of the Colorado class ships, was laid down in 1917, but work on the remaining three ships didn't begin until after the end of the First World War. All four were launched but the Washington Naval Treaty limited the number of capital ships in the US Navy. The USS Washington was the most modern ship to be sacrificed, and she was sunk as a target ship on 25 November 1924.

The Washington treaty suspended battleship construction in the United States and in Britain. The US Navy abandoned construction of the six ships of the South Dakota class and four of the six Lexington class battlecruisers, all of which had been laid down. The last two Lexington class ships were completed as the carriers USS Lexington (CV 2) and USS Saratoga (CV 3). The Royal Navy also cancelled eight new capital ships, four G 3 class battlecruisers and four N 3 type battleships, but none of these ships were under construction at the time, and financial limits suggest that they would probably never have been built. Instead the two Nelson class battleships were built during the 1920s, armed with nine 16in guns but without the speed that would soon be needed.

Construction resumed in both countries in 1937 with very similar ships. In Britain work began on the five ships of the King George V class, with ten 14in guns and a top speed of 28kts, while in the United States construction resumed with the North Carolina class, armed with nine 16in guns but with the same speed, and the similar South Carolina Class of 1939-40. Both countries then planned a series of faster battleships - the Lion class in Britain and the Iowa class in the United States, but the British ships were cancelled after the outbreak of the Second World War while four of the six Iowa class ships were completed, giving the US Navy a force of 'fast' battleships to go with its 'old' battleships.

USS Colorado was undergoing a refit at the time of Pearl Harbor and was thus undamaged. She was ready for action by the middle of 1942, and took part in the invasions of Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Guam and Tinian, the landings at Leyte Gulf and the invasion of Okinawa.

USS Maryland suffered minor damage at Pearl Harbor and was back in action in February 1942. She took part in the invasion of Tarawa, the Marshalls and Saipan, where she was hit by an air-launched torpedo. After repairs she returned to take part in the invasion of the Palau Islands, the landings in the Philippines and the battle of Surigao Strait. She was hit by a kamikaze later in the Philippines campaign and needed more repairs but was back to take part in the invasion of Okinawa.

USS Washington was cancelled after the agreement of the Washington Naval Treaty and the largely completed ship used as a gunnery target.

USS West Virginia was the worst damaged ship from Pearl Harbor to be repaired and return to action. She didn't return to action until October 1944 when she supported the landings at Leyte Gulf. She was present at the battle of Surigao Strait where she fired more shells from her main guns than any other American battleship involved. She then took part in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Displacement (standard)

32,600t

Displacement (loaded)

33,590t

Top Speed

21kts

Range

8,000nm at 10kts

Armour – belt

13.5in-8in

- deck

3.5in

- turret faces

18in or 16in

- turret sides

10-9in

- turret top

5in

- turret rear

9in

- barbettes

13in

- coning tower

16in

- coning tower top

8in

Length

624ft

Width

97ft 5in

Armaments

Eight 16in guns in four twin turrets
Fourteen 5in guns
4 3in guns
Two 21in submerged beam torpedo tubes

Crew complement

1,080

Ships in Class

USS Colorado (BB 45)

Stricken 1959

USS Maryland (BB 46)

Stricken 1959

USS Washington (BB 47)

Sunk 25 November 1924
(as target ship)

USS West Virginia (BB 48)

Stricken 1959


Waste of Steel: These 5 Battleships Were the Worst Ever Built

Battleships were tools in service of providing national security, and like any tools their success in service varied. The engineering and financial demands of building a modern battleship often exceeded the reach of the governments that ordered the ships. When that happened, substandard ships that were sometimes more dangerous to their crews than to the enemy resulted.

France Class

France was not initially sold on the idea of the dreadnought battleship, preferring instead to concentrate on the Dantons, a class of advanced pre-dreadnoughts. Indeed, the Dantons took up the bulk of the construction slips that the French could use for large battleships in the years before World War I. When the French got around to building dreadnoughts, they were half-a-decade behind international standards.

The Courbet class was France’s first effort. Displacing twenty-three thousand tons, they could make twenty-one knots and carried twelve twelve-inch guns in a configuration that included two wing turrets. The Courbets began to enter service in 1913, at which point they were far behind state-of-the-art battleships being constructed in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan. Not terribly useful, the Courbets did not see a great deal of service in World War I and were beginning to leave service by World War II. One of the ships sank after hitting a rock another was taken over by the Germans and sunk by allied aircraft another was sunk as a breakwater off Normandy the last was hulked and scrapped in the 1950s.

Espana Class

After the Spanish-American War, the Spanish government debated for years about how to rebuild the fleet. This delay enabled the Spanish to skip the final generation of pre-dreadnought battleships, and instead contemplate internationally competitive vessels. Unfortunately, the size of the Spanish economy did not enable the construction of advanced warships.

Assisted by parts and designs from Great Britain, Spain decided on what would become the world’s smallest dreadnought, the Espana class. At sixteen thousand tons, the Espanas carried eight twelve-inch guns in four twin turrets, two on the centerline and one on each wing. The Espanas could make about nineteen knots and were equipped with an eight-inch main armor belt.

Although an efficient use of a small hull, in the end the Espanas were only fit for fighting each other. During the Spanish Civil War they narrowly missed this opportunity, as one ship ended up on either side. One ship suffered an internal explosion and sank another sank after hitting a friendly mine another sank after hitting a rock.

Gangut Class

Despite the loss of most of its fleet at the Battle of Tsushima, the Russian Empire maintained ambitions for a first-rate fleet. Unfortunately, these ambitions outstripped the limited technical and industrial resources available to Russia. Russia solicited multiple designs from European partners, eventually deciding on a combination of ideas for its first class of dreadnoughts. While some of the ideas were innovative, the overall result was a mess.

The Ganguts entered service in 1914–1915, years after the first generation of European dreadnoughts, and were completely outclassed by contemporary vessels. Relatively large (twenty-four thousand tons) with a decent speed (twenty-two knots), they were armed with four triple 12” turrets, offering a twelve-gun broadside but only three gun end-on fire. The armor scheme was relatively light (a main belt of 8.9”), and quickly fell behind international standards in terms of distribution. Against modern British or German ships, they would have suffered badly.

The four ships had checkered careers, each undergoing multiple name changes during service to the Russian Empire and the USSR. One ship burned while laid up and was never repaired. One barely survived an eventful transfer to the Black Sea. None did much of consequence in either world war, and all were scrapped in the 1940s and 1950s.

Bismarck Class

Perhaps the most famous battleships ever built, both Bismarck and Tirpitz were formidable units which drew considerable Allied attention. However, the class suffered from Germany’s lack of experience with battleship construction and maintenance during the interwar period.

Bismarck and Tirpitz entered service in 1940 and 1941, respectively. They displaced fifty thousand tons, could make thirty knots, and carried eight fifteen-inch guns. While heavily armored, the armor was poorly distributed. The main armament did not take advantage of advances in turret and gunnery technology, consisting of four twin turrets rather than the more efficient distributions used in other navies. The ships lacked a dual-purpose secondary armament, which increased weight and reduced anti-aircraft effectiveness. Altogether, they were the least capable of the final generation of fast battleships.

The two ships were nevertheless quite dangerous. Bismarck destroyed the old Royal Navy battleship Hood at the Battle of Denmark Straits, and damaged HMS Prince of Wales. She fell victim to combined air and surface attack. Tirpitz had a relatively uneventful career before being sunk by British bombers in a Norwegian fjord in 1944.

Tegetthoff Class

The four ship of the Tegetthoff class began to enter service with the Austro-Hungarian navy in 1912. Built to an innovative design that used triple turrets in a superfiring configuration, the Tegetthoffs were extremely well-armed. They carried twelve twelve-inch guns on a displacement of twenty-one thousand tons, with a speed of twenty knots and an eleven-inch armor belt.

With so much firepower, something had to give. Unfortunately, the Tegetthoffs had poor underwater protection and little damage absorption capacity, even for battleships of their era. This made them highly vulnerable to underwater attack. One ship, the Szent Istvan, was sunk by Italian torpedo boats in 1918. Another, the Viribus Unitis, was sunk by Italian frogmen shortly before the end of World War I. The remaining ships were transferred to Italy and either scrapped or sunk as targets.

Final Salvo:

Battleships were a risky investment, requiring the successful integration of an array of different components. This didn’t always work out in the ways that navies would have liked. Nevertheless, some of the ships above were quite useful to the navies that employed them, even as they engendered substantial risk to crews.


Colorado class battleship

The APNS Commune of Detroit (BB-48) in harbor in July 1944.

The Colorado-class battleship was a group of four battleships built by the United States Navy after World War I. The four active Colorado-class ships were captured by the Union of American People's Republics during the Second American Civil War and renamed Commune of New York, Commune of Pittsburgh, Worker's Pride and Commune of Detroit.

The Colorados were the final group of Standard-type battleships, designed to have similar speed and handling to simplify maneuvers with the line of battle. Apart from an upgrade in striking power to eight 16-inch guns, the ships were essentially repeats of the earlier Tennessee-class. The Colorados were also the last American capital ships built with four turrets and twin-mounted guns. The change to larger guns was prompted by the Japanese Nagato-class battleships, which mounted eight 41cm/45-caliber 3rd Year Type naval gun guns.

All three ships served during World War II. Commune of New York and Commune of Pittsburgh were both present during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and both sunk in the shallow waters of the harbour and were later raised and repaired.


NavWeaps Forums

Seven proposals (No. 162 to 168) for Battleship 1917 (Colorado) dated March 1916 were all 21 knots with 16"/45 guns and included a repeat Tennessee, an 8-16" Design (selected) and 5 further ships with 10-16" one in 4 turrets 33,200tons (Nevada layout) the other four designs in 5 twin turrets ranging from 35,800 tons to 37,500 tons.

By December 1916 BB49 designs (No. 173) were 41,500 tons, 12-16"/50 and 23 knots.

The biggest barrier is a 30% increase in size needed for 12 16"/50.

Evidence from Russia suggest it is feasible to built on circa 35000 ton a fairly fast, 25 knot battleship with 12X16” gun, provided one accept certain compromises.

One such compromise is relatively modest scale of protection arranged in a novel, and in retrospect wrongheaded, armor layout. The design also kept weight down by adopting quadruple turrets, all lowered to main deck level to reduce top weight, and a bare minimum of superstructure and no large masts for directors. This necessitated secondaries be lowered to hull side casemates, with attendant reduction in useable reserve buoyancy and range of stability. But hull side casemates saved more top weight. The hull also had little real torpedo protection, certainly none comparable to those used in the Colorado class.

The large barbette diameter of the quad 16’ turrets required large hole in strength decks. This coupled with relatively narrow hull could justifiably Induce unease concerning structural strength of the hull.

The Russians prepared such a design for their 1915 program before the outbreak of the war in 1914 put a stop to it.

Dec 28, 2019 #12 2019-12-28T13:53

Seven proposals (No. 162 to 168) for Battleship 1917 (Colorado) dated March 1916 were all 21 knots with 16"/45 guns and included a repeat Tennessee, an 8-16" Design (selected) and 5 further ships with 10-16" one in 4 turrets 33,200tons (Nevada layout) the other four designs in 5 twin turrets ranging from 35,800 tons to 37,500 tons.

By December 1916 BB49 designs (No. 173) were 41,500 tons, 12-16"/50 and 23 knots.

The biggest barrier is a 30% increase in size needed for 12 16"/50.

Evidence from Russia suggest it is feasible to built on circa 35000 ton a fairly fast, 25 knot battleship with 12X16” gun, provided one accept certain compromises.

One such compromise is relatively modest scale of protection arranged in a novel, and in retrospect wrongheaded, armor layout. The design also kept weight down by adopting quadruple turrets, all lowered to main deck level to reduce top weight, and a bare minimum of superstructure and no large masts for directors. This necessitated secondaries be lowered to hull side casemates, with attendant reduction in useable reserve buoyancy and range of stability. But hull side casemates saved more top weight. The hull also had little real torpedo protection, certainly none comparable to those used in the Colorado class.

The large barbette diameter of the quad 16’ turrets required large hole in strength decks. This coupled with relatively narrow hull could justifiably Induce unease concerning structural strength of the hull.

The Russians prepared such a design for their 1915 program before the outbreak of the war in 1914 put a stop to it.

True but even if such ships could be produced on that tonnage - which might be an underestimate - such a design is likely to become obsolete even faster than the OTL Colorado's especially if there's no treaty. There going to be very vulnerable to both shellfire and torpedoes and I bet have no real facility for air defence as well as their other weaknesses.


Colorado Class battleships - History

Thanks to the naval treaties, until our first modern battleships came along just before World War II, all we had were modernized versions of our World War I era battleships. In keeping with tactical doctrine, our battleships were comparatively slow, but very well armed and armored.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Colorado was not there, but sisterships Maryland and West Virginia were. West Virginia was hit by no less than 7 torpedoes and was saved from capsizing like the Oklahoma did only thanks to a sharp young damage control officer. Maryland was trapped inboard of West Virginia, until the latter could be moved enough to free her.

While Colorado and Maryland basically retained their gun configurations, West Virginia was completely renovated along the lines of California and Tennessee, before her return to the battleline in 1944, with 4 twin dual purpose 5" gun turrets along each side. All 3 ships were in the thick of battle.

From ONI 54:

From ONI 200:


PHOTOS: The USS Colorado, four ships through history

Crew on deck of U.S.S. Colorado, ca. 1861-1865, printed between 1880 and 1889.

Photo courtesy of USS Colorado Commissioning Committee

USS Colorado (1858-1876) The first USS Colorado was a 3500 ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War she participated in the Union Navy's Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the first Naval engagement of the Civil war when she attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. She captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers. In October 1864, she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and cruised off the coast of North Carolina until 26 January 1865. During Colorado's participation in the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher from 13 to 15 January 1865, she was struck six times by enemy fire which killed one man and wounded two. After the war she served as flagship of the European Squadron from 1865 until 1867 and from 1870 to 1873 as flagship for the RADM Rodgers squadron on the Asiatic Station. During this time she came under an unprovoked attack by Korean shore batteries then participated in a punitive expedition destroying the forts. She arrived back in New York in 1873 and after a period of decommission sailed the North Atlantic Station after which she was decommissioned for the last time in 1876.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

U.S.S. Colorado, screw steam frigate, ca. 1888-1900.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

US sailors aboard the USS Colorado during World War One. Portsmouth, Great Britain, circa 1914-1918.

Photo courtesy of USS Colorado Commissioning Committee

The second USS Colorado was an Armored Cruiser of the 13,900 ton Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific. Between August and November 1912, she sailed to land and support expeditionary troops at Corinto, Nicaragua, then patrolled Mexican waters. After a period of inactivation, she later serving as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, patrolling in Mexican waters during the revolution and then returned to reserve status. She was renamed Pueblo on 9 November 1916 to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships. After the start of WWI she served as flagship of the Scouting Force patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil. Later made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. At the end of the war she made six voyages to bring American veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. She was placed in reduced commission and then decommissioned in September 1919. She was reactivated and served again as receiving ship in the 3d Naval District from 1921 to 1927.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The second U.S.S. Colorado, June 10, 1913.

American battleship USS Colorado being pushed into the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, May 2, 1927, where she will undergo examination in a dry dock.

Photo courtesy of USS Colorado Commissioning Committee

USS Colorado (BB-45), 1923-1947, was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on August 30, 1923. She displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She served in European waters in 1923 and 24 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served with the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937. She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII. She supported operations in the Gilberts, Marshalls (Enitwetok and Kwajalein), Marianas (Saipan and Guram), Leyte, Luzon (Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf), Okinawa and Tinian. On 24 July 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties to topside personnel. Colorado's next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes. She was tied up net to USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. She was decommissioned in 1947.

Photo by Ed Maker, The Denver Post

OCT 9 1961 - Gov. Steve McNichols, left, Looks over Bell of USS Colorado At center is Cmdr. Howard K. Hickman and, at right, John L. Griffith.

The bow section of the Virginia class attack submarine Colorado (SSN 788) is slowly rolled off the barge that transported it from Newport News Shipbuilding Monday, July 27, 2015. The Colorado will be the 15th in the Virginia class and 5th in the Block III construction featuring a re-designed bow section and will not acquire the navy designation USS until it is commissioned. The bow section arrived Friday night just as the Illinois (SSN 786), the 13th in the class, was being rolled-out of the construction building at EB to Graving Dock 3 in preparation for float-out later this summer.

The Virginia class attack submarine Colorado (SSN 788), right, is rolled to the graving dock for float-off while the South Dakota (SSN 790) awaits completion, center, and a hull section of the Vermont (SSN 792) is moved off a barge, at left, on the waterfront at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.

Annie Mabus, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus christens the 15th Virginia Class, fast-attack submarine Colorado as General Dynamics Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger watches on at Electric Boat in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

Hundreds gather as General Dynamics Electric Boat hosts the Christening Ceremony for the 15th Virginia Class, fast-attack submarine Colorado at the Electric Boat campus in Groton Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

The Virginia class fast attack submarine USS Colorado passes the shore of Groton as it travels down the Thames River toward Long Island Sound on Jan. 9, 2018.


Battleships


Large, well-armored warships brandishing massive, main guns and numerous secondary and defensive AA batteries, battleships are the heaviest, and some of the most powerful ships in the game. They can rain fire upon enemies with impunity due to their long gun ranges, weather more fire than any other class, and their secondary batteries make short work of any smaller ships or aircraft that foolishly attempt to close the distance without the use of tactics. Unfortunately, slow rudder shift times, coupled with long turning times of the main battery turrets, render them unable to respond quickly to rapid changes in the battlefield it is recommended for battleship commanders to think several steps ahead before taking any action, especially when facing the battleship's biggest weakness, the torpedo. Forget about subtlety battleships can be seen from miles away, even without firing, but with a well-placed salvo, they can cripple any enemy they encounter, if not outright kill them. However, as shown in history and reflected accordingly in-game, lone or unescorted battleships are nothing but sitting ducks for enemies to pounce upon and overwhelm, especially by destroyers and aircraft carriers.

Starting off from Tier III, all battleships have access to the Repair Party () consumable, allowing them to repair some damage taken during battle and giving them unmatched survivability. As captains progress up the tiers, battleships gain access to additional abilities: Spotting Aircraft (), which launches an unarmed spotter plane for the battleship, increasing the range of her already long-range main guns by 20% (at 32km, Yamato can basically fire on enemies across the entire map) and patrols in an area around the battleship, revealing nearby enemies that would have been otherwise hidden from sight Catapult Fighter () launches fighter aircraft from the battleship's catapults that escorts the battleship and engages enemy aircraft that wander too close. Remember that these two abilities can be prematurely shut down by shooting down the aircraft and German battleships have access to Hydroacoustic Search () starting at Tier VIII, giving them greatly increased spotting range for incoming torpedoes. French battleships receive Engine Boost () starting at Tier VIII, giving them a slight speed boost when it is used.


History of Ships Named COLORADO

USS Colorado (BB-45) – was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on August 30, 1923. She displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She served in European waters in 1923 and 24 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served with the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937.

She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII. She supported operations in the Gilberts, Marshalls (Enitwetok and Kwajalein), Marianas (Saipan and Guram), Leyte, Luzon (Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf), Okinawa and Tinian. On 24 July 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties to topside personnel. Colorado‘s next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes. She was tied up net to USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. She was decommissioned in 1947.

>> More History at Navy History and Heritage Command

>> More Pictures at NavSource Online

>> Also See BB45 Alumni Association for Complete History

USS Colorado (ACR-7)=>(CA-7) (1905-1927)

The second USS Colorado was an Armored Cruiser of the 13,900 ton Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific.

Between August and November 1912, she sailed to land and support expeditionary troops at Corinto, Nicaragua, then patrolled Mexican waters. After a period of inactivation, she later serving as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, patrolling in Mexican waters during the revolution and then returned to reserve status.

She was renamed Pueblo on 9 November 1916 to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships. After the start of WWI she served as flagship of the Scouting Force patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil. Later made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. At the end of the war she made six voyages to bring American veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. She was placed in reduced commission and then decommissioned in September 1919. She was reactivated and served again as receiving ship in the 3d Naval District from 1921 to 1927.

>> More History at Navy History and Heritage Command

>> More Pictures at NavSource Online

USS Colorado (1858-1876)

In October 1864, she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and cruised off the coast of North Carolina until 26 January 1865. During Colorado’s participation in the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher from 13 to 15 January 1865, she was struck six times by enemy fire which killed one man and wounded two.

After the war she served as flagship of the European Squadron from 1865 until 1867 and from 1870 to 1873 as flagship for the RADM Rodgers squadron on the Asiatic Station. During this time she came under an unprovoked attack by Korean shore batteries then participated in a punitive expedition destroying the forts. She arrived back in New York in 1873 and after a period of decommission sailed the North Atlantic Station after which she was decommissioned for the last time in 1876.


THE GRACE LINE HISTORY

Cruise History – THE GRACE LINE – In the mid 1800s, the Irish-born Grace brothers, William Russell and Michael, established a commercial and shipping business in Callao, the port of Lima, Peru. They prospered, especially in the exporting of guano from the Chincha Islands to the United States, where this fertilizer was in considerable demand.

In 1865, leaving Michael in charge of their interests in Callao, William established the firm of W.R. Grace & Co., in New York. By 1880 he had become a leading citizen and was twice elected Mayor of New York, despite opposition from Tammany. In the 1890’s the company entered the steamship business with a line of freighters running from New York to the South American west coast via the Strait of Magellan flying the British flag.

Grace’s original British-flag ships had black hulls, white painted masts and booms, and a green stack with a black top. After the First World War successors were painted grey, with masts and booms of the usual mast color. Hulls became black again in 1928 and masts and booms reverted to white in 1932. (about 1959-60 Grace passenger ships again turned to grey hulls).

The early British-flag freighters all had names beginning with C, such as CACIQUE, CAPAC, CHINCHA Names which were later repeated in ships under the American flag.

Later Grace started a service from the Pacific coast of the United States to the west coast of South America, and in 1913 took delivery of the 4,826 gross ton, 400-foot Santa Cruz from William Cramp & Sons of Philadelphia for this run. She was their first American flag ship and was especially designed to carry a large deck-load of lumber, as well as 48 passengers. three boilers provided steam for a 2400 horsepower triple expansion engine, which gave her a speed of 11-12 knots. She introduced the green funnel with white band and black top which continued to be the Grace stack colors.

Grace established regular steamship service in 1893 with a subsidiary called the New York & Pacific Steamship Co., operating under the British flag because ships built outside the United States were banned from US registry until 1905. US-flag service began in 1912 with the Atlantic and Pacific Steamship Company. The activities of both companies and the parent firm were consolidated into the Grace Steamship Company beginning in 1916. The firm originally specialized in traffic to the west coast of South America then expanded into the Caribbean.

COLUSA, of 5873 gross tons and 424 feet, was also built in 1913, by Hamilton of Port Glasgow, Scotland, for the same service as the SANTA CRUZ. She was Grace’s last ship for British-flag operations. Three boilers and a quadruple expansion engine of 3500 horsepower gave her a service speed of 12 knots. She too, was built to carry large loads of lumber on deck. She had four masts at first, but was later given a fifth with a 100 ton boom, and handled fully assembled steam locomotives for the South American ports. Her 36 passenger capacity was later increased to 50.

In 1914 COLUSA was transferred to the U.S. flag and was renamed Santa Cecelia (a misspelling of CECILIA). Some of the British-flag ships were lost by enemy action, and only two were left at the end of the first world war. Grace also operated a cargo service from Seattle to Chile with way calls along the coast.

To restore Transpacific service, Grace bought in 1915 three ships under construction in Holland Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, laid down for the Royal Netherlands West India Mail, these had been intended to run down to the west coast of South America via the Panama Canal, but had been sold on the stocks to the Norwegian owner Chr. Hannevig, who proposed to use them between New York and the South American east coast, a run discontinued by Lamport and Holt and Booth Line because of the war. Hannevig, however accepted Grace’s offer to buy the ships before they were completed. Colombia kept her name until she was lost. This unlucky ship first ran aground on Cano Island off Costa Rica in 1923, remaining there two months. Practically her whole bottom had to be removed in drydock at Balboa. In the fall of 1931 she went to her grave on the south end of Margarita Island off lower California. Venezuela struck a mine on the way out from Holland and was repaired in England.

In 1916 Grace decided to institute a passenger service from New York to ports on the west coast of South America as far as Valparaiso, Chile, and contracted for five ships SANTA ANA, SANTA LUISA, SANTA TERESA (By Cramp) and SANTA ELISA and SANTA LEONORA (by New York Shipbuilding). These 110 passenger ships were 376 feet long with a gross tonnage of 5800. They had four boilers each and quadruple expansion engine of 3300 hp. in the Cramp ships and 3400 in the others. Their service speed of 13 knots could be exceeded by a knot.

The United States Shipping Board took these five ships over for transport duty. By the time the troops had been carried back from France, Grace had decided that four would be sufficient for the intended service, and declined return of the SANTA LEONORA, which went to the Navy and became the submarine tender CANOPUS, ultimately lost in the Philipines early in 1942. In 1926 the secondary service from New York as far as Antofagasta, Chile was begun with the SANTA CRUZ, which was joined in the following year by SANTA CECI(E)?LIA ( ex COLUSA)

Also in 1916, the company acquired a controlling interest in the venerable Pacific Mail Steamship Company, premier west coast and transpacific operator, which had already sold its big ships and retained only the lesser vessels of the Central American service.

In 1921 the Shipping Board allocated five 535 ft. President class ships for Transpacific operation by Pacific Mail Line. these were PRESIDENT CLEVELAND, (ex GOLDEN STATE), PRESIDENT LINCOLN (ex HOOSIER STATE), PRESIDENT PIERCE (ex HAWKEYE STATE), PRESIDENT TAFT (ex BUCKEYE STATE) and PRESIDENT WILSON (ex EMPIRE STATE).

COLOMBIA, ECUADOR and VENEZUELA were thus displaced and in the following year were transferred from the far east run to the intercostal run. At the same time Grace placed on the same run the freighters SANTA BARBARA, SANTA CLARA, SANTA MALTA, SANTA OLIVIA, SANTA PAULA and SANTA ROSA. These six , making connection with the President ships at San Francisco, provided fast freight service from Atlantic ports to the far east.

In 1923 the Shipping Board invited bids for the sale of the President ships operated by Pacific Mail. The Dollar Line outbid Grace and was awarded the vessels. Finding itself without ships suitable for the transpacific trade, Pacific Mail sold its registered name and goodwill to Dollar. Grace now without a transpacific connecting service, had no further use for the six intercostal freighters and sold them off to the American Hawaiian Line.

At this time Grace formed a new entity, the Panama Mail Company, to operate the small ships formerly owned and used by the Pacific Mail in the Central American trade, these ships not having been involved in the sale to Dollar. COLOMBIA, ECUADOR and VENEZUELA also remained under Grace Ownership.

In 1928 to meet competition from the Pacific Steam Navigation Company and the Chilean Line, Grace took delivery of SANTA BARBARA and SANTA MARIA, which were a great improvement over previous ships. As it was then permissible to build ships in foreign countries for U.S. flag operation and retain eligibility for mail contracts, these sisters were constructed by the Furness Shipbuilding Company in Haverton-on-Tees, England. Each had two 8-cylinder, 2 cycle Sulzer diesel engines of 4000 hp. apiece. They were the first large motor passenger ships to sail under the U.S. flag.

The service speed of these 150 passenger vessels was 16 knots, their overall length 480 ft. and their gross tonnage 8000. In later years , after the advent of the 18 knot SANTA CLARA, a project for increasing the speed of these ships was considered. It was proposed to install a third 4000 hp. diesel engine which would transmit power to the two propeller shafts through a generator and two electric motors. In view of their somewhat old-style passenger accommodations, however, these plans did not materialize.

Since only four ships were required for the Valparaiso service, SANTA ANA and SANTA LUISA were transferred to the Panama Mail’s New York-San Francisco run and were renamed respectively GUATEMALA and EL SALVADOR.

In 1929 SANTA INEZ and SANTA RITA joined the fleet. Apart from cruiser stern, short funnel and diesel propulsion, these ships built by Burmeister & Wain of Copenhagen, were much like the SANTA ANA class. Measuring 5000 tons and 386 ft. overall, they had accommodations for 125 passengers in two classes. Each had two six cylinder, 4 cycle, 3600 HP main engines, giving a service speed of 13 knots. SANTA RITA made 15.1 on her trials. This pain joined SANTA CECILIA and SANTA CRUZ in Grace’s secondary service which was now extended to Valparaiso.

When SANTA CLARA was added in 1930, it was decided to speed up the schedule, thus rendering superfluous SANTA ELISA and SANTA TERESA which entered the secondary service. replacing SANTA CECILIA and SANTA CRUZ. From the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, SANTA CLARA was a larger SANTA BARBARA, 20 ft. longer, two knots faster, and about the same tonnage. Her propulsion was quite different, however, two turboelectric units with a combined output of 12,000 hp. The service that had required four ships was reduced to three. SANTA BARBARA and SANTA MARIA had to do their utmost to maintain the schedule that called for about 17 knots.

Upon COLOMBIA’S loss in 1931, the Grace ships SANTA ELISA and SANTA TERESA were transferred to Panama Mail, in order to have four vessels of the same capacity and speed on the New York San Francisco run. ECUADOR and VENEZUELA, respectively renamed SANTA OLIVIA and SANTA ISABEL took the place of these two on the secondary South American service EL SALVADOR was renamed SANTA ANA and GUATEMALA, SANTA CECILIA. The previous SANTA CECILIA had been sold to Norway.

Late in 1932 he depression forced the suspension of the secondary service and SANTA ISABEL, SNTA INEZ, SANTA OLIVIA & SANTA RITA were tied up. This service was, however, resumed the following year.

To comply with its mail contracts, Grace had agreed to build four new ships. These the SANTA ROSA class were ordered from Federal Shipbuilding Co. Kearney, New Jersey and delivered in 1932-1933. They were designed by William Francis Gibbs, who had also drawn plans of Matson’s MALOLO and later to draw those of the AMERICA and the record-breaker UNITED STATES.

These ships had some general resemblance to MALOLO, with her great beam and low stern. Their original gross tonnage of 11,200 was later reduced to 9,100 by the cutting of tonnage openings in # 6 shelter deck. Subsequently their tonnage was again changed, all of which reduced tonnage dues and Panama Canal tolls. Their overall length was 508 ft. and beam 72 ft.

Their power plants were at the time second to none in efficiency. Each of the water tube steam generators with a pressure of 430 lbs. produced 6000 hp. and each ship could make 18-1/2 knots with only three boilers active. The main engines were double reduction turbines. The screws turned inward, and for this reason were very awkward to maneuver. The passenger capacity of the SANTA ROSA class was 209 in first class and about 50 in steerage. Their public rooms were all on the promenade deck, with the dining salon extending two and a half decks in height to a roll back dome. The after dining room bulkhead was adorned with a large oil painting of a Grace clipper. Each cabin, whether single or double was equipped with private bath.

With the new quartet the Grace Line established the first passenger service between New York and Seattle. Calls were made at Havana, Puerto Colombia, Cartagena, Canal Zone, Punta Arenas, La Libertad, San Jose, Mazatlan, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Victoria. The first ship the SANTA ROSA sailed November 26, 1932 the last, SANTA ELENA, April 4, 1933. New York- Seattle running time was 20 days, including one day in Los Angeles and two in San Francisco. Average speed 18-1/2 knots. Before the New York sailing, each ship called at Philadelphia for cargo only.

In 1934 the port time in New York was greatly reduced and the call at Philadelphia eliminated. The time saved enabled the ships to make a shuttle run between Seattle and San Francisco. The 20 knot service and the ship’s superior accommodations to anything the Pacific Coast shipping had to offer made this an exceedingly popular run.

It was not long before other companies complained that, since Grace ships were subsidized for foreign trade they should not compete in the coastwise business. By the end of 1934 Seattle ceased to be a port of call and the voyage ended in San Francisco. Since three ships could now maintain the service, the SANTA LUCIA was reassigned to the South American run. Late in

1936 Grace acquired the Red D Line and it’s Caribbean Service, and early in 1937 SANTA ROSA, SANTA PAULA and SANTA ELENA entered that service: New York to Venezuela, Curacao, Colombia, Cristobal and Haiti.

In addition to the services already mentioned, Grace operated several cargo runs, for which it built eight 12 knot freighters, between 1913 and 1919. These all of about 10,000 deadweight tons. They were the SANTA CATALINA, SANTA CECILIA and the six already mentioned as running inter-coastal in the early 1920’s. There was also a 13,000 ton tanker NORA, named for the daughter of J.P. Grace. all these freighters had been sold by 1925 and the tanker was disposed of in 1932. SANTA CATALINA by 1919 had become the USS BLACK HAWK, a destroyer tender.

Early in 1936 Grace sold SANTA CECILIA (ex SANTA ANA) and SANTA TERESA to the Merchants & Miners Transportation Company, SANTA ELISA, SANTA ANA (ex SANTA LUISA) went to the Alaska Steamship Company. SANTA INEZ and SANTA RITA were bought by the Navy in 1940 and the SANTA BARBARA and SANTA MARIA also in 1940. SANTA OLIVIA and SANTA ISABEL were also sold.

The Navy took over the SANTA LUCIA in 1942 as the USS LEEDSTOWN, she was sunk in the North African invasion. The SANTA ELENA was sunk the following year off the Philippville on the Algerian coast. SANTA CLARA as the SUSAN B. ANTHONY went down in the Normandy invasion.

Of the ships built before 1939 only the SANTA ROSA and SANTA PAULA survived. They continued to be the flagships of the fleet until 1958 when they were replaced by sister ships of the same name.

The Government had six uncompleted C2 type hulls and these were offered to Grace Line. Grace Line accepted the offer and had them converted to 52 passenger vessels. These “combos” became very popular and were a huge success and Grace Line had three more built. The first six were fitted out to carry bananas from Ecuador to New York. The last three were to be on the Caribbean run and were not equipped to carry bananas. Graces postwar fleet consisted of the nine combos, the Santa Rosa and Santa Paula, (which had been returned to Grace Line and refitted again to the liners that they once were) and nine C2 freighters. The Santa Rosa and Santa Paula served the Caribbean calling at Curacao, La Guaira, Aruba, Kingston, Port au Prince and Port Everglades, sailing from New York every two weeks. The three Caribbean “combos” called at Santo Domingo, Puerto Cabello, La Guaira, Maracaibo, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. The other six “combos” along with the C2 Freighters sailed from New York to the West Coast of South America as far as Valparaiso.

In 1956 Grace decided to replace the Santa Rosa and Santa Paula with two new vessels. The new vessels a Gibbs & Cox design were to be called Santa Rosa and Santa Paula. They were 15,000 gross tons and 584 feet overall with an 84 foot beam. The first vessel the Santa Rosa was delivered in 1958. and the second Santa Paula soon followed. At this time cargo costs were escalating and cargo offerings to Venezuelan ports were declining and Grace decided that with the Santa Rosa and Santa Paula and two freighters being converted to all container vessels would meet the requirements in the Caribbean. The Santa Eliana and Santa Leonor two C2 type vessels were converted to all container vessels. These were the first American container vessels in foreign trade. The converted Santa Eliana sailed for Venezuela January 1960 with 176 containers containing powdered milk and other general cargoes. The longshoremen refused to unload the containers even though some sort of a previous agreement had been made by the agency. After 18 days an agreement was reached and the Santa Eliana was unloaded with the provision that no more vessels of this type would be used. The sailing of the Santa Leonor was canceled and both vessels were laid up.

In 1959 The Saint Lawrence Seaway opened and Grace obtained approval for an operational subsidy for the Great Lakes route. The route would serve ports on the Great Lakes to Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Barbados and ports on the north coast of Venezuela and Colombia. The decision to operate to the Great Lakes proved to be a financial disaster for Grace and the run was given up after one season.

In 1960 Grace Line decided to replace the aging “Combos” with four new 20 knot passenger vessels to carry approximately 100 passengers. These vessels were to serve the west coast of South America. They were 20,000 displacement tons 546 feet long with a 79 foot beam. The names were chosen to honor the four countries, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador & Peru They were designed with all new advanced cargo carrying devices. Each was fitted out to carry 360,000 cubic feet of bananas (90,000 stems approx. 4000 tons) in three holds, on the southbound voyage these areas were used for carrying autos or palletized cargoes which were loaded by a special pallet handling system. There were 5 cargo elevators in 3 holds. The other two holds were container holds. There were four gantry cranes on deck which when married in pairs could handle 40 foot containers. Container capacity was 175 twenty foot containers. The four “M” ships, as they were called carried 125 first class passengers. Public rooms were spacious and tastefully decorated and there was a large outside tiled swimming pool.

About this time Grace decided to replace the aging freighters and six new freighters were built, The first of these was the Santa Lucia and these ships became known as the “L” ships. They were modern vessels with refrigerated compartments for Chilean fruit and Ecuadorian bananas. They were equipped for 12 passengers in luxurious staterooms and had seven hatches with 10 ton booms and two 30 ton booms and a 80 ton jumbo boom.

Things were normal until 1969 when the parent company W.R. Grace decided to go out of the steamship business and concentrate on chemical and other company ventures. Grace Line was sold to Prudential Line, a small line owned by Skouras of 20th Century Fox. At first the line was called Prudential Grace Lines and later the Grace was dropped and it became just Prudential Line. The ships were operated as before with most of the same personnel aboard but in 1970 Prudential decided to suspend the Caribbean service and the Santa Rosa and Santa Paula were laid up, never to sail under the American Flag again. The “M” ships were sailed as freighters until 1972 when three were transferred to the west coast. They were once again returned to passenger ship status. They sailed from San Francisco, north to Tacoma and Vancouver thence through the Panama Canal calling at ports on the east coast of South America then through the Strait of Magellan to call at ports on the west coast of South America and thence return to Los Angeles and San Francisco. This was a 59 day voyage. The Santa Magdalena remained on the east coast until 1974 when she too was transferred to the west coast to sail with the other three.

In 1978 the Prudential Line was taken over by Delta Lines, In 1983 there was a sharp drop in cargo bookings to South America and operations began to wind down. The six “L” class freighters were laid up and finally sold. The four “M” ships continued to run until 1984 when all operation of the former Grace Line Santas ceased.

At its peak, the Grace Line was a major force in American merchant shipping. Shortly after World War II it owned 23 ships totaling 188,000 gross tons, plus 14 more on bareboat charters.


Peterson Building, Inc. Minesweepers

Peterson Builders, Inc. was considered “the builders of minesweepers of the world.” Being a shipyard that was able to build a ship out of many materials, Peterson Builders, Inc. (PBI) was known as one of the most versatile shipyards in the world. Their versatility is what grabbed the attention of the United States Navy after WWII which awarded the company contracts to construct minesweepers.

Located in Sturgeon Bay, WI, PBI goes back to 1908 when Fred Peterson started his career in his father’s boatyard as a company known as Peterson Boat Works. In 1918, Peterson Boat Works burned down, though it wasn’t until 1933 when Fred rebuild Peterson Boat Works. The company was know for building vessels for their private clients. They were especially known for building a reliable wooden ship. During World War II, the company did business with the United States Navy and Army, building sub chasers and rescue boats that were used during the war. However, PBI was most famous in the shipbuilding world for building state-of-the-art minesweepers after World War 2.

Ellsworth Peterson, son of Fred and Irene, began his maritime career in 1941 when he served on tankers in World War II. Fred came back to the family business after World War II and worked under his father for 20 years until he became president in 1965. Under Ellsworth’s leadership, PBI emerged as an international shipbuilder, constructing over 800 different ships for 13 countries. The biggest contract that Fred landed was the naval contract for building the Avenger mine countermeasure ships to replenish the navy with new minesweepers.

The Ship That Gets Other Ships To Work

Most people are familiar with the game Battleship and the ships in that game as the main ships of the U.S. Navy, but minesweepers are some of the most important ships the navy needs. Minesweepers are used by the United States Navy to map out and clear mine fields so that other ships are able to pass through the mine fields safely through the water. Mines are cheap and easy to set so many poorer countries can afford them, so the United States needs minesweepers wherever their ships go.

There are two types of mines that these ships search to destroy. One mine is a buoyant contact mine and the other type of mine sits at the bottom of the sea and detonates due to noise, water pressure, or magnetic influence. Since a lot of these mines could be triggered by a magnetic influence, the hulls of the PBI minesweepers were built from laminatedwood and non-ferrous materials. Even the equipment installed was non-magnetic which made the boats very expensive to build since so much had to be special ordered. PBI’s reputation as a company who built reliable wooden ships is what really propelled them into the minesweeper business.

A lot went in to building minesweeper at PBI, and it took a 3-shift workforce with over 1,000 workers to build these ships. A lot of people who worked on the ships were local people that were either born and raised in Door County or people that moved to the area for a job in shipbuilding. A lot of people who worked for these companies had military experience as well.

The Tale of an Employee

Bill Graf, a native of Door County, was one of thousands of people who worked for the shipbuilding giant. Bill was native to Door County because, like him, his parents also worked for PBI. Bill’s father was a carpenter while his mother worked in material control, maintaining records and ordering parts. Bill graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1961 and joined the Navy in January 1963 after working through high school to join the nuclear submarine program. He went to boot camp and electrician mate school in San Diego where he learned his trade for the navy and later in life at Peterson Builders Inc.

During his time in the Navy, Bill served aboard the USS Bashaw, a World War II submarine which is the sister ship to the USS Cobia which is currently moored at the Manitowoc Maritime Museum. Bill continued his schooling in the military by attending the Nuclear Power School and Reactor training. Bill served on subs until 1970 when he was discharged and came back to work in Wisconsin.

During Bill’s time at Peterson Builder Inc, he was in cable pulling and lighting crews on the ship. In Bill’s words, this was one of the jobs he was in charge of on the ships:

The 1 st electrical cables to be installed were the degaussing cables, a series of multi-conductor cables run for to aft around the sides and top to bottom and port to stbd. the length and width of the hull. These cables were connected to form coils which were utilized to neutralize the magnetic signature of the ship. This was a MAJOR task since some of the cables were 2 inches in diameter and did not bend easily. Holes had to be bored through frames that were 10 to 12 inches thick. The paths for these cables were laid out by the design engineers and no deviation was allowed. These cables were always run in one piece-no junction boxes permitted.

This was just one of the many jobs that Bill was in charge of working. With his lighting crews, Bill and his crew installed the 120 volt AC and DC electrical system on the ship. Bill was just one example of what the employees did at PBI while building the minesweepers. Other people performed other tasks such as office workers, engineers, salesmen, and many more occupations at Peterson Builders Inc.

PBI Minesweepers Built for the Navy

The location of the shipyard was prime when it came to getting materials to the yard. Sturgeon Bay is located in Northern Lake Michigan and has a harbor that allowed ships to come in easily and deliver materials to the shipyard. Also, rail lines came into the ship yard which allowed other materials to be shipped by rail into town.

The building of minesweepers first started in 1954 when contracted by the U.S. Navy to build 5 minesweepers each 57 feet in length. Other countries started taking notice at the quality of minesweepers being built at PBI and contracted PBI to build them minesweepers as well. The Netherlands, France, Belgium, and even South Korea are just a few countries that contracted PBI to build minesweepers.

The PBI Shipyard (Door County Pulse)

From 1958-1982, PBI hadn’t built a Minesweeper for the United States Navy, although it had plenty of other contracts from the US military building various ships of different uses and sizes. In 1982, the company was contracted to build a new fleet of minesweepers for the US Navy.

When the minesweepers were first being built in the mid 1980s, the workers were rushing to build the first Avenger-class ships because they were behind schedule. The first ship was supposed to be completed by September 1985, the the ship was delayed because of its complexity. The main problem with the first few ships was an engineering problem. The engine and the main gears on the first and second ships being built did not match. The vessels were also much more expensive than expected. The original costs for the ships were around $100 million but were $53 million over their estimated price.

Even though the first minesweepers took longer than expected and cost more than originally thought, it proves how thorough Peterson Shipbuilding Inc was when it came to putting out a finished product. The company was not willing to meet the costs or deadline if that meant that the product was not going to be perfect. Even though there were hiccups in the first projects, this went to further prove why the shipbuilding company was an elite company when it came to building quality ships.

The hold ups on the project were necessary, but they were not viewed upon favorably by either the Navy or PBI. Both Ellsworth Peterson and Everett Pyatt, the assistant secretary of the Navy for shipbuilding at the time, called it “embarrassing” about the delays. However, neither placed blame on each other, rather, they put a collective blame on all involved because the prototype was unrealistic to build and modifications had to be made.

The moment of truth for one of the ships would be the sea trials. The Navy would take the ships out into either Green Bay or Lake Michigan and test the ships for their designed use. These were some of the most stressful times according to President Ellsworth Peterson because if the ships were to work, there would not be much else to do on the ships. However, if the Navy discovered a glaring problem with the ship, they would have to fix it and if they could not fix it, it was back to the drawing board for the Navy and Peterson Builders Inc.

As the project was delayed, the curiosity of the ships heightened, so the security heightened as well. The Navy inspectors would be all over the shipyard watching the carpenters, electricians, and other workers at the shipyard. It was tough to get clearance on to the sight, as even a troop of local Gril Scouts needed naval clearance to tour PBI.

Many workers for the company took pride in their work. With matters in the Persian Gulf flaring up, the employees knew that getting the ships out the fastest and as best as possible was a priority. From a New York Times article, some of the employees expressed how important their work felt to them. ”You bet we’re proud to be part of this,” said Steve Gevrts, a 29-year-old pipefitter. ”This isn’t just another job.” Other people felt like their work was felt all over the world, especially in the Persian Gulf. ”Usually those places like Iran -and all their trouble – seems so far away, but this really brings it all home,” said Carol Overbeck, a 43-year-old secretary at Peterson. ”Even though I’m not actually working on the boats themselves, I feel like I’m helping the country. They need these. And they need them quick.”

As construction on the fleet continued, the workers stuck the course and completed the Avenger class of minesweepers. Even with the delays, there was pride among Peterson supervisors and naval officers. The following was a quote from a Chicago Tribune article talking about the ships themselves. “We think it’s the best ship in the world for our purposes,” said Cmdr. Robert Rawls, the Avenger`s captain, who has been in Sturgeon Bay for two years. “It’s designed to lead ships out of any area of the world.”

After the fleets completion in 1994, no more minesweepers were ever built at PBI. In fact, the Avenger class was the last United States military contract that PBI received. Once the Avenger class was built and delivered, PBI took a huge hit and had to lay off much of its workforce. In September of 1995, Larry Maples, a former officer of Peterson Builders Inc bought the company’s marine and industrial division, marking the first time that a Peterson did not own PBI as Ellsworth Peterson was set to retire.

Under new ownership, PBI was set to get its workforce from 150 to 300 people. During 1992, PBI employed around 1,000 people at the time. Also, Maples changed the name of the compan to Poseidon Shipbuilding LLC. Maples motivation behind buying the company was to keep manufacturing jobs in Sturgeon Bay. Poseidon Shipbuilding LLC did not last long in Sturgeon Bay and by 1997, the shipyard and the companies that called it home were no more.



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